NFL Playoff Bracket: Power Ranking Best Possible Super Bowl Matchups

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2013

Colin Kaepernick and Tom Brady could face off for the second time should their teams make the Super Bowl
Colin Kaepernick and Tom Brady could face off for the second time should their teams make the Super BowlJared Wickerham/Getty Images

With each conference title game set in the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl is becoming more in focus.

The New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons are the only teams remaining, thus there's only four ways the Super Bowl could end up.

No matter which teams get there, plenty of storylines will follow, and the game should be very fun to watch.

Here's how each possible matchup ranks in terms of entertainment value and quality of game.


4. Atlanta Falcons vs. Baltimore Ravens

Ray Lewis going out with a second Super Bowl ring would be a storybook ending for one of the greatest linebackers in the history of the game.

This could be a very open game. Atlanta ranked 23rd with Baltimore 17th in pass defense.

The Falcons were torched by Russell Wilson in the divisional round. Joe Flacco showed in the Ravens' win over the Denver Broncos that he can hold his own in the playoffs.

It would also be a bittersweet reunion for Atlanta head coach Mike Smith. He spent some years as a coach for the Ravens before moving on to the Jacksonville Jaguars and eventually the Falcons.


3. Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots

Brady vs. Ryan is how this game would be hyped. This game would either solidify Brady's reputation or have Ryan take that next step toward becoming one of the best QBs of his era.

The Falcons quarterback has been leveled with quite a bit of criticism about his playoff performance. Prior to this year, he was 0-3 in his career and had three unspectacular performances in the process.

Beating the Seattle Seahawks helped get that monkey off his back. Lifting the Lombardi Trophy and besting Brady in the process would end any debate that Ryan is an elite quarterback.

Both teams' pass defenses have been shaky for most of the season, so this could be a real back-and-forth affair.


2. Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

Brace yourselves for numerous Har-Bowl references should this meeting happen. It would be brother vs. brother as Jim and John Harbaugh would be facing off in the most important game of the NFL season.

Aside from the novelty of seeing the brothers opposing each other, the Ravens used to be known for having one of the best defenses in the league. That's no longer the case.

One of the teams that supplanted them is the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco ranked third during the season in total defense.

Patrick Willis has been one of the biggest reasons for the 49ers' spectacular defense. This game could be the proverbial passing of the torch between Willis and Lewis. With him retiring, Willis can take the mantle of best linebacker in the NFL.


1. New England Patriots vs. San Francisco 49ers

This would be a replay of the teams' Week 15 matchup, which the 49ers won, 41-34. The Patriots came back from a 31-3 deficit to score 28 unanswered points to tie the game.

Tom Brady threw for 443 yards, with Kaepernick adding 216 yards. It would be a very fun game to watch if only to see Kaepernick and Brady facing off again.

In addition, San Francisco's defense has been one of the best all year. The unit would be looking to atone for how poorly it performed against New England.

Kaepernick earned rave reviews for his record-breaking performance against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. Imagine what beating the Patriots and Tom Brady would do for him.